Council has more important issues to worry about than allowing dogs back into the downtown core

Nelson council needs to stop wasting time on dogs

Council has a lot of issues to deal with, such as the budget, climate change and many bylaws to update.

Council has a lot of issues to deal with, such as the budget, climate change and many bylaws to update. But it seems that the pressure is on, from different organizations, to deal with animal control issues, such as chickens, bees and dogs. So the controversial issue of dogs in the downtown core has jumped back onto the council table.

We have a notice of motion put forward to allow dogs back into the downtown core. It is interesting to note that it was the downtown business association, years ago, who petitioned the city council of the day, to ban dogs from Baker and Vernon streets because of the many problems caused by dogs, along with the lack of responsibility of their owners.

Now the current downtown business association believes times have changed. I lived here when there were dogs allowed in the downtown core and it was a mess. From dogs fighting, tied to parking meters, and of course doggy “deposits” all around town. I can see no evidence that some dog owners attitudes have changed; dogs are taken into “no dog zones” such as Rotary Lakeside Park and beach, with most dogs not even on leashes; to dogs running loose around Lakeside playing fields, on John’s Walk and in Uphill. Not to mention, the mess of dog “deposits” around town, especially on the “dog walk” beside the Nelson airport. Good thing the airport dog walk got flushed out with all the flooding last spring.

If the motion passes to allow dogs downtown, my main concern is health and safety. The health issue from dog feces on sidewalks, as well as dogs peeing on everything, including sign boards, lamp posts, corners of buildings, car wheels, etc. There are also safety concerns.

Many people think of tourist dogs as small and cuddly, but what about dog breeds such as rottweiler, pitbulls and dobermans along with other large dogs brought into the downtown core. What if someone is bit, especially a child, who is responsible: the owner and/or City Hall? Baker Street sidewalks are narrow, so is it desirable to have the return of dogs to Baker Street and have citizens, seniors and young children exposed again to health and safety risks?

The downtown business association speculates there will be more business from tourists by allowing dogs back in the Baker Street area, but could it also send more local people and tourists to the Chahko Mika Mall where they can shop in a dry, cool, smoke free and dog free environment.

Having dogs on Baker Street is not the solution to improve the business in the downtown core. The problems — why there are not more purchases in the downtown core — are complex. With the downturn in the economy, the lack of street parking and no large motorhome parking near Nelson, along with cross-border shopping, travelling to Kelowna and purchasing items through the internet are the main issues.

Getting a few more tourists with their dog Fluffy to shop in downtown Nelson is not the magic bullet that will boost the local economy. The solution is to carry on with proper marketing of Nelson, and increase the cleaning and restoring of the buildings and awnings in the downtown core.

Instead of the focus dog control, council and staff must continue with preparing the city for climate change, by directing funds for increased flood and fire protection.


Robin Cherbo is a Nelson city councillor who shares this Wednesday space with his colleagues at the table.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two men killed in Hwy 3 collision west of Castlegar

The single-vehicle incident happened Thursday morning

Nelson considering new Hall Street pier as part of COVID-19 economic stimulus plan

Pier needs replacing, with possible designed public space added

Central Mountain Air to offer flights out of Castlegar

The company will be offering Castlegar to Vancouver flights October 1.

Health ministry to hire 33 new practitioners for Kootenay Boundary

Over 15,000 people in the region don’t have access to a primary care provider

Housing situation in RDCK very difficult, says report

One in five RDCK households are living in homes costing nearly a third of their income

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke

In the last year, 104 cuts have been approved near Revelstoke in caribou habitat

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Most Read